God’s Truth On Your Secret Sexual Sin

WARNING: The following content might not be appropriate for all readers.

From the LYWB.com team: We’ve received lots of comments lately from girls wrestling with masturbation. We’ve written about it here and here and done a vlog about it here, but since we continue to hear from so many of you on this subject, we decided to recruit some help. Meet Tim and Aileen Challies. Tim is a pastor and author. We thought he’d be a good voice on this subject because of his book Sexual Detox: A Guide For Guys Who Are Sick of Porn. We love how the Challies point you toward the Word of God to answer your questions about this tough issue.

The Bible is not silent on the subject of masturbation. It does not leave us guessing. It’s true that Scripture never mentions masturbation specifically. However, because the Bible does speak thoroughly and explicitly about sexuality and sinful lust, it doesn’t have to speak explicitly about something so closely related as masturbation.

Let’s look at two ways we can know that the Bible speaks to masturbation without ever naming it.

First, consider that if masturbation is extremely common (as are most sins), and nearly always associated with sinful lust, we can safely assume the same was true in the ancient world. So think of Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount. He essentially said “to imagine having sex with a woman is a kind of adultery” (Matt. 5:28). Don’t you think masturbation is a clear application and exactly the kind of action He was thinking about?

Second, consider that the Bible never refers directly to abortion. Yet because Scripture speaks clearly about the value of human life and the sin of murder, we are right to conclude that abortion is sin. In almost precisely the same way, because Scripture speaks clearly about the power of sexuality and the sin of lust, we can conclude that masturbation is nearly always sinful. In each case the specific action is so closely linked to the larger category of sin that the connection and shared moral status are simply obvious.

The Damage Done
Why, exactly, is masturbation sinful? Most importantly, just like any other sin, because it violates God’s holiness. Masturbation is against God, against His ways and His purposes for how men and women are to relate to one another in a marital union that reflects the relationship of Christ to the Church.

Masturbation is also sinful because it compromises us. We are made in God’s image. We are meant to glorify Him in every aspect of our lives, and masturbation hinders us in this mission in two principal ways—by polluting our minds and by inclining us to isolation.

Mind Pollution
Sexual gratification, of course, is not merely a physical act, but one that engages the mind, often quite intensely. During masturbation, pornographic images, whether seen externally or visualized internally or just plain imagined, nearly always provide a kind of fuel. Indeed, the vast majority of the time, these fantasies are nearly impossible to separate from the masturbation itself. This type of fantasy can be dangerous in at least two ways.

First, as most adults have learned the hard way, reality is rarely as wonderful as fantasy. Many people create expectations for sex that reality cannot meet. In fantasy everything always works, the other person is always willing and able to participate. In other words, it is nothing like real life. And in that way fantasy eventually and inevitably forms unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of sex.

Second, just as sex scenes in movies rarely involve married couples who can, before God, legitimately enjoy sex, fantasy will rarely revolve around legitimate sexual partners. In theory, it is perfectly fine for a woman to dream of a sexual encounter with her husband, but beyond that God gives us no right to fantasize, even about a pretend husband or a person who may one day be a husband. Masturbation, even under those circumstances, may encourage any woman to fill her mind and desires and fantasies with thoughts of other men. And a single Christian woman, having no God-given partner with whom she can consummate sexual desire, simply has no legitimate reason for pursuing sexual fantasy at all.

Some will protest that when they masturbate it is merely a physical act, something done to relieve stress or boredom. They will insist that they do not succumb to thinking inappropriate thoughts. I am extremely skeptical of these claims, but I do not dismiss them, because I cannot see into anyone else’s heart or read anyone else’s mind. But even assuming, for the sake of argument, that a small proportion of women masturbate without any pornographic images or fantasies in their heads, there is still at least one powerful reason why masturbation is so harmful.

A close examination of the Bible’s teaching on sexuality uncovers no reason to believe that God ever intended sex to be a private pursuit. Indeed, the heart and soul of sexuality is the giving and receiving of sexual pleasure between two people—one husband and one wife.Sex is intended to be a means of mutual fulfillment, an expression of love in which a husband thinks foremost of his wife and the wife thinks foremost of her husband. It is a uniquely powerful means by which husband and wife can fulfill the Lord’s command to esteem another higher than oneself. As they fulfill each other’s needs, they also have their own needs fulfilled. It is a beautiful picture of intimacy! As any married couple can testify, the more selfless the sex, the better sex becomes. The more each spouse seeks to please the other, the more fulfilling, gratifying, and beautiful the experience.

This mutual giving and receiving, the heart of God’s purpose for sexuality, is exactly what masturbation does not and cannot provide. Masturbation strips sexuality of its divine purpose of mutual fulfillment. Where legitimate sexual expression is meant to produce unity, masturbation produces isolation and division. Masturbation is inherently self-centered. An act meant to be shared toward two people is completely and exclusively about one person, all alone. Masturbation deeply undermines a woman’s ability to deny and resist her most self-centered, sinful, isolationist tendencies.

Masturbation simply cannot fulfill God’s design for sexuality, and thus has no place in the life of one who calls herself a Christian.

Note: If you are someone who has struggled with masturbation or other sexual sin, be sure to come back to the blog tomorrow for Tim’s post on handling the guilt.

(To read part 2 of this post, click here.)

About Author

Guest Blogger
Guest Blogger

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

  • * Requests or gives personal information such as email address, address, or phone number.
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  • Anon

    You could just masturbate when your body feels the urges. It’s safe, healthy, and natural. Don’t risk your personal well being over the thought of ticking off your imaginary friend. : )

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      ​So… while we are thinking things through…would you leave this one alone?

      Thanks, friend…

      *Carrie Gaul*

      Revive Our Hearts | Biblical Correspondent

      866.842.8381 Ext. 2089


      ReviveOurHearts.com | TrueWoman.com

      Revive Our Hearts

      Calling Women to Freedom, Fullness, and Fruitfulness in Christ.


  • Anonymous

    This is total crap. Masturbation is healthy for teenage girls, it helps them understand their bodies better. Sometimes Christians amaze me with how backed up their vaginas are, like holy cow. Get real. Some studies have even shown that people who masturbate are more likely to have fulfilling sexual relationships, AND IT AIDS IN PROTECTING CHASTITY. That means, you’re gonna be good at sex when you’re MARRIED. So done with the bs on this website…just learned that apparently, homosexuality isn’t a real thing. LOL. What were all the studies on the xq28 chromosome for then??? Cripes, would you pull your head out of your ass, it’s not a hat…

  • anonymous for now

    I have a similar question, though it’s only happened a few times. I was recently tempted to give into this sin again. though I’m currently right with God about it and have confessed the ones in my past. However, a few mornings ago, I was tempted just after I awoke and was still back in bed. Then, I dreamed I did it… I think. I’m not totally sure if it was reality or not. Then last night I dreamed doing it agin, along with everything that went into doing it in the past, including my thought pattern and stuff. I know this second one was a dream because I only woke up after the fact but it was a little unnerving. What should I do?

    • http://www.reviveourhearts.com Lorree @ Revive Our Hearts

      Scripture tells us that whenever we are tempted God has promised to provide a way of escape for us (1 Cor. 10:13). Taking your thoughts captive ( 2 Cor. 10:5) during our waking hours requires we practice what one author calls “threshold thinking”. This means that every thought that crosses the threshold of our minds must be examined in light of God’s Truth. If the thought is in line with God’s Word – then we may think on it; if it is not, then we must choose to dismiss it from our mind and to dwell on what is true (Phil. 4:8).

      As you actively engage in this battle to renew your mind in the truth of God’s Word you should also experience a decreasing occurrence of dreams that are impure. You must remember, however, that the enemy has no desire for you to gain or maintain freedom in this area; he will seek to destroy you in whatever manner he can. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8).
      Here are several steps that will help you guard against the attack of the enemy while you sleep.

      • Ask the Lord to show you if there are any areas where you have given ground to the enemy sexually – either physically or mentally. Repent of any sin that He reveals and ask Him to reclaim the ground that you have surrendered as a result of that sin. Then be purposeful in meditating and memorizing passages of Scripture that will serve as a shield against future attacks of the enemy.

      • Be diligent to guard against watching or reading anything that is promiscuous or questionable. Images and thoughts implanted in our minds become fodder for our flesh and the enemy.

      • Spend time praying each evening before going to bed. Ask the Lord to place a hedge of protection about your mind as you sleep.

      • Let your last thoughts of the day be focused on praise and worship of the Lord. You may even want to go to sleep quoting scripture.

      • If you awake from an immoral dream, immediately confess the dream and your desire to be free from such immorality to the Lord. Then use that “temptation” as a springboard for specific prayer. Choose a prayer target such as an unsaved loved one and resolve to pray for that individual every time you are plagued by an immoral dream. If the enemy is responsible for tormenting you while you sleep, he will grow weary of you using his “arrow of destruction” as a call to prayer.

      • If your parents are believers let them know of the battle you are facing in your dreams and ask them to pray for you. Exposing that which lies in the darkness to the light of truth removes much of the power of sin.

      I’m praying right now that you will gain victory over this area of assault and accusation against your mind!

  • anonymous for now

    I don’t know if this will help so long after you posted, but though I cannot answer your question, I would recommend Josh Harris’ book “Sex is not the problem (lust is).” It’s really helped me in this area, maybe God can use it in your life too.

  • Virgo

    I never masturbated. Ever. Guess I’m really an angel and not just my mother’s opinion.